Kansas Yields Mixed Results for Kyle Busch Motorsports Ickler Scores Fourth-Place Result, Malsam Finishes 22nd in O& ...
Kansas Yields Mixed Results for Kyle Busch Motorsports
Ickler Scores Fourth-Place Result, Malsam Finishes 22nd in O’Reilly Auto Parts 250
For Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM), the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City was a day of highs and lows for the first-year organization. One team earned a top-five finish and the other was caught up in an accident early in the 167-lap event, derailing a solid top-10 effort.
Brian Ickler, who led twice for six laps, scored his second top-five result in as many starts by piloting the No. 18 Toyota Tundra to a fourth-place finish. Kansas marked the fifth race for KBM, with driver/owner Kyle Busch piloting the No. 18 machine for the other three races.
"We were a little too free there at the end," said Ickler, who finished third at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway last month in his only other start for KBM. "I'm real proud of the guys. They did a great job. I had a good run today for KBM and I'm just happy we can keep the '18' up there in points."
While Ickler had a solid fourth-place finish, his KBM teammate Tayler Malsam had his run thwarted early as his No. 56 Toyota Tundra was involved in a multi-truck accident on lap 34. Malsam's Toyota sustained heavy left-side damage in the incident which required extensive repairs on pit road.
"We had such a good truck," said Malsam, who was running in the top-10 at the time of the wreck. "I just would've liked to have had the chance to see what we could've done with our Toyota. It was just a disappointing day."
Ickler, who started in ninth-place on Sunday afternoon, told crew chief Eric Phillips that he felt he had a good truck early in the race. Although Ickler's ride started off a little free getting into the corners, the handling of his Tundra had come to him by lap 25. Ickler said the truck was good by himself, but he was experiencing a tight-handling condition in traffic.
When the caution flag waved at lap 28, Phillips instructed Ickler -- who was running in the eighth spot -- to pit for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. However, a pit miscue cost the team valuable spots, and Ickler returned to the track in 16th-place.
However, the early pit road issues didn't faze the 24-year-old Southern Californian or the team. Ickler patiently picked his way through traffic, regaining the lost spots. While teams opted to use a variety of pit strategies, the No. 18 team elected to stay out and make laps as long as they could. At lap 90, Ickler moved into the lead for the first time. Once in the lead, Ickler told his crew that his No. 18 truck was too loose from the center of the corner off, and it felt like the rear of the truck wanted to come around on him.
Ickler made a green-flag pit stop at lap 91 for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. The quick stop put him back on the track in fourth-place. With his handling improved, Ickler battled for the lead. But the battle was cut short when severe weather moved into the area on lap 114, whereupon NASCAR red-flagged the race for heavy rains and lightening with Ickler in second-place.
After an hour-and-a-half delay, NASCAR was able to restart the race and Ickler gave up his runner-up spot and pitted with the other leaders during which he took four tires and before returning to the track in third spot. However, his truck was a little too free in the closing laps and he dropped one spot to finish fourth.
Unfortunately for Malsam, his day did not go as well as that of his teammate. Early in the race, Malsam told crew chief Dan Stillman that his race truck was loose all the way around. In addition to the loose-handling condition, Malsam and Co., were concerned about a possiblie overheating problem as his Toyota was running very hot during the early stages of the race. Like his teammate, Malsam pitted for the first time under caution at lap 29. The crew changed four tires, added fuel and pulled tape from the Tundra's grill. He restarted in 10th-place.
Malsam quickly picked up two spots on the restart, but he didn't get the opportunity to show just how strong his Toyota was because at lap 34, Malsam was running in eighth-place when he was caught in another truck's spin coming off turn four. With nowhere to go, Malsam's truck sustained heavy left-side damage. He brought his truck to pit road where the No. 56 crew cut off and replaced the left-front fender, lifted up the truck's splitter and changed tires. Malsam returned to the track disappointed, but made laps for the remainder of the race in hopes of salvaging some valuable points.
Johnny Sauter won the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 by 5.032 seconds over Ron Hornaday Jr. It was Sauter's second career Camping World Truck Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Kansas.
Todd Bodine, Ickler and Johnny Benson took spots three through five. The rest of the top-10 consisted of Austin Dillon, Aric Almirola, Mike Skinner, Ken Schrader and David Starr.
The race featured seven caution periods for 37 laps, with 11 drivers failing to finish.
While Busch is not running the full Camping World Truck Series schedule, the No. 18 Toyota is competing for the owner's title, and it is second in points after round 5 of 25, just nine points behind the No. 2 truck of Kevin Harvick Inc. Brian Ickler is driving the events in which Busch does not compete. Malsam is competing in all 25 races and is 12th in points, 194 markers behind series leader Timothy Peters.
The next event on the Camping World Truck Series schedule is the Dover 200 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.